It simply wouldn't be a Kings-Coyotes game without an element of weirdness or controversy.
How about both?
Saturday featured that and more as the Kings lost for the second time in three days. Arizona beat the Kings, 3-2, on Saturday night at Gila River Arena for its third victory against the Kings in four games this season, led by captain Shane Doan, who scored and added an assist.
“We've got to be a lot better,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “From top to bottom, everybody's got to be a lot better.”
First, the controversy and some choice words afterward from Kings left wing Milan Lucic. Lucic was ejected from the game, at 6:55 of the third period for taking a swing and connecting with Coyotes defenseman Kevin Connauton.
Lucic was upset for Connauton's earlier slash of his wrist in a scrum around Arizona's net.
Lucic said he feared his wrist was broken, at first. He said his whole hand went numb and he couldn't feel his hand, explaining his reaction to the slash.
“Thankfully, X-rays came back negative,” he said. “If I don't react, I don't think he even calls a penalty. The same guy [referee] Brad Meier, I think this is the fourth time he's kicked me out of a game.
“It's always the same thing with him. Guys can take liberties on me and it's not a penalty. If I do something, I'm automatically kicked out of the game. It's just unfortunate it is that way with him. Just gotta move on and not get frustrated by the referees in the game.”
Lucic could face supplementary discipline for his actions.
The chaos unfolded with the Coyotes ahead, 3-2, and the lead held up. The game-winner came off a quick strike by speedy Arizona forward Jordan Martinook, who scored 22 seconds into the third period.
Martinook converted a breakaway, beating Kings goalie Jonathan Quick up high on the glove side with a nifty backhander.
The Kings goals were scored by captain Dustin Brown (fifth of the season) and Nick Shore (third). For Brown, who scored on a rebound, it was his first goal and first point since he had a three-point night at Edmonton on Dec. 29.
Shore's goal, an unassisted effort at 6:53 of the second period, fell in the weird category, following what looked like an odd move by Coyotes rookie goalie Louis Domingue.
Domingue was interfered with by Kings left wing Tanner Pearson behind his net. Instead of immediately skating back to the net, Domingue took his mask off and Shore, seeing the open net, took the shot and scored. Afterward the goalie said he had an issue with his strap and couldn't see.
The Coyotes' coach and players argued, to no avail, and the goal stood, making it 1-1. Doan had scored in the first period, at 13:43, when Michael Stone's shot deflected off Doan's chest and went past Quick.
One tweak worked in the Kings favor and the other wasn't as clear-cut. Coach Darryl Sutter adjusted his lines and put the struggling Brown on a line with Carter and Brown finally scored.
He is still searching for the right solution on the back end.
“It's still gotta fit,” Sutter said after the morning skate. “It's still the partner thing. We really like Muzz [Jake Muzzin] and Marty [Alec Martinez] together. We had to split them up a lot because of the lefties and with Luke [Schenn] being a righty, so Marty's had to play a lot with Luke.
“And it's still a work in progress. I think Luke, on his own terms, of what we expect and what we see is fine. But it's still about the six guys. It's not one guy. It's not Drew [Doughty] and the rest or Luke and the rest.
“There's so much more to it than the individual performance.”
KINGS AT SAN JOSE
When: Sunday, 7 p.m.
On the air: TV: F S West. Radio: 790.
Etc: Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has 18 goals in 45 games this season and is on pace to become the first defenseman to record a 30-goal season since Mike Green (now with Detroit) scored 31 goals in 2008-09 with Washington. The Sharks will be honoring one of their former goalies, Arturs Irbe, who played in 183 games for the franchise from 1991 to 1996.
Follow Lisa Dillman on Twitter @reallisa